Modern CCTV systems are capable of recording and storing vast quantities of visual data. In order to utilize this footage effectively, however, it is essential that a reliable system is in place to monitor and analyse it efficiently enough to ensure that any relevant or suspicious events recorded are not overlooked. In almost all cases, the sheer volume of footage recorded means that it is simply not viable for security personnel to achieve this manually.
For this reason, advanced CCTV systems incorporate Video Analytics to enable the user to eliminate the need to monitor footage during periods of inactivity, set up alert protocol based on specific occurrences or activity, and to automatically classify footage so that it can be easily retrieved when needed. Additionally, Video Analytics can reduce staffing costs by enabling business owners and site managers to monitor even larger premises using minimal security personnel. It can also be used to monitor and evaluate staff productivity or consumer behaviour. In fact, the capabilities of Video Analytics are increasing continually, bringing the goal of an almost fully automated CCTV system ever closer to reality.
Reduces bandwidth usage and increases data storage capacity
By activating recording from each individual camera, Video Analytics eliminates the need to monitor and record visual data during long periods of inactivity. This reduces the amount of load on the bandwidth capacity of the network and enables the CCTV system to operate more efficiently, and prevents data storage capacity being wasted on video footage which is essentially useless as it has not captured any moving objects. This also increases the number of cameras which can be installed as part of the CCTV system, and facilitates the use of higher resolution cameras which require greater storage capacity.
Analyses the activity of specific objects within a specific field of interest
Using advanced pattern-based algorithms, a CCTV system which is equipped with Video Analytics technology can recognise objects such as vehicles or people and initiate recording whenever a predetermined event occurs within a specified field of interest. The same mechanism can also be used to activate an alarm system in order to alert an operative.
In practice, Video Analytics could, for example, be used to activate recording when a vehicle enters an area with restricted parking. The system could also alert a member of security staff who might then attend the scene in order to issue a penalty charge notice, achieving the desired end result without the need for continuous recording or monitoring, and without the inconvenience of having to attend to false alarms whenever a pedestrian or other non-prohibited object enters the field of interest. In this example, ANPR (Automatic Number plate Recognition) technology could also be used to enhance functionality even further, for example by exempting permitted vehicles.
Uses 'teach by example' capabilities to progressively improve efficiency
In addition to using advanced pattern-based algorithms which are constantly being updated and enhanced, the operational capabilities of Video Analytics can also be progressively improved on a site-specific basis according to feedback which has been manually entered by the user. This will tailor the way in which the CCTV system operates according to the unique requirements of businesses or organisations and their premises, and to the preferences or priorities of business owners and site managers. One common example of this is the nuisance of regular false alarms due to the presence of wild birds on the premises on which a CCTV system equipped with Video Analytics has been installed. In these instances, the Video Analytics system will respond to the feedback entered by the operator when they experience these false alarms by developing the capacity to recognise the characteristics of the offending birds and their movements. Once the necessary data has been established, any similar activity will be disregarded, and no more false alarms of this type will occur.
Additional Benefits and Applications
Apart from the remarkable security benefits of Video Analytics, the technology can also be used to monitor and analyse staff activity. The resulting data can then be used to improve productivity, identify malpractice, or gather evidence relating to an ongoing disciplinary procedure. Similarly, businesses can also use Video Analytics in a retail environment, enabling them to assess consumer behaviour within the environment and make appropriate changes to the layout of their premises or the way in which their products are presented. Both applications are of course subject to the data protection laws which apply whenever CCTV footage is recorded.
While the installation of a CCTV system which incorporates Video Analytics will generally involve an additional installation cost, in our view this is more than outweighed by the considerable long term advantages. The decrease in staffing costs alone will comfortably absorb the initial financial outlay within a relatively short period, and as Video Analytics systems benefit from updates and improvements on an ongoing basis, the advantages are increasing all the time.
In some cases we have actually SAVED our clients money by reducing manned security requirements on site.
At Contact Fire & Security, we have partnered with all the leading providers of Video Analytics systems in the industry, including Avigilon, AXIS, and HIK Vision. Avigilon in particular has been at the forefront of Video Analytics technology since its inception, however all of these providers have their own unique areas of expertise. Whatever your requirements, we're confident that we can advise you on which system is most suitable for your business or organisation.